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Seattle Picards S21 Preview

Overview
After missing the playoffs last season, Seattle made a flurry of trades as S21 kicked off. Whether the new personnel help the Picards close the gap against superior division rivals Vancouver and Anaheim remains to seen.

Starting Pitching
The rotation should be the strength of the team. With newly acquired Brandon Groom (1.31 WHIP with Jackson) and the debut of 20 year old uber-prospect Junior Hernandez, the Picards hope they have a formidable 1-2 punch to build their team around. Solid vets David Armas (8-5, 3.46 ERA), Junior Funaki (1.18 WHIP) and Denny Martin (16-8, 2.81 ERA) round out the rotation.

Bullpen
Unhappy with Slash Clay's inconsistencies (3-10, 34 saves), the Picards signed ex-Anteater Sid Watson (1.50 ERA, 40 saves) to try to nail down 9th inning duties. ROY Pat McCullough, Harry Hammond (1.22 WHIP), Rolando Diaz (1.24 WHIP) and Clay give the Picards plenty of late inning options to get the ball to Watson.

Catcher
long-time backstop Julio Concepcion (.319 avg) is back for his 11th season behind the plate for the Picards. Management hopes he has a couple .300 avg seasons left in him. Lefty-masher Harry Rodriguez (27 HR at AAA) will serve as his platoon mate.

Infield
Fresh off signing a 5 year extension, 2 time MVP Hayes Corino (.288, 42 HR, 114 RBI) is back at 1B to continue terrorizing NL pitching. He'll be joined by three new faces in the infield.

Ex-Sicilian Donn Newman (22 HR) looks to rejuvenate his career by moving to Seattle and switching from RF to 2B. New 3B Kelvin Torres (.277 avg) tries to replace departed slugger Aramis Granados. Steady SS Luis Lee (9 plus plays) was picked up at the trade deadline last season from Minnesota.

Outfield
3 time all star Cesar Pulido (.264, 46 HR, 110 RBI) continues to shine in RF. Newcomers Odalis Baez (32 HR, .361 OBP) and Anthony Clinton (23 SB, .355 OBP) will replace departed slugger Raul Costilla in LF and bat leadoff. CF Matthew Wilson (29 SB, .220 avg) hopes to recover after a horrible sophomore slump in S20. He'll platoon with expert defender Felix Stuart (7 plus plays).

Summary
The Picards have a lot of new faces, but will it be enough to overcome their division foes? Even with the improvements they've made to their pitching staff, the team traded away a lot of offense this offseason. In S21, it's likely that Seattle will be staring up at Vancouver and Anaheim in the standings once again.

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